Away in a Manager…

‘Away in a Manger, 

No crib for a Bed-

The Little Lord Jesus lay down His Sweet Head.

The Stars in the Heavens look down where He lay-

The Little Lord Jesus Asleep on the Hay.’

83FFBA76-D5F9-4937-B981-1141A62DC83D*The lyrics of this beloved Children’s Christmas Carol have an obscure history.  Long thought to have been written by Martin Luther for his children in the late 1400’s- with variations of the first two stanzas being referred to most often in the late 1800’s. Since that time researchers haven’t found anything like it in Luther’s Writings and could have originated with the Lutheran Church instead- it remains a mystery to this day.  Apparently, numerous publications recorded the prose in the late 1800’s right here in America. The composers of the melody have not been fully established, but all agree ‘Away in a Manger’ is thoroughly American.

Luther’s Cradle Song, as it was called- is known to have been recited in Children’s Sunday School Classes  in Nashville Tennessee in 1893. Widely acclaimed thereafter, Away in a Manger was most likely set to music in the early 1900’s using only the first two verses. Starting in 1955, when Bing Crosby recorded ‘Away in a Manger’- many well known recording artists have performed this sweet song. The Christmas carol became very popular in the United States, Great Britain and Worldwide and remains so until this day.

Whenever and however the sweet song came into being… it epitomizes the humble Heavenly Miracle Birth of the Christ Child and continues to be one of the world’s most beloved Christmas Carols. I love this Divine Lullaby, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Love y’all, Camellia

*read more about ‘Luther’s Cradle Song’  here-   *photograph is obviously mine.

Gingerbread Crumb Cake…

979F3B79-29CF-4F3A-8B79-549CC9011D98 I have lots of recipes scribbled on lined paper- I’m never sure where I found these recipes or why I’ve kept them… I ran across this one called -Gingerbread Crumb Cake. To be honest it isn’t  as dark as a true gingerbread. Still. It does have warm gingerbread spices- as it bakes, the scents wafting through the house bring holiday cheer.  This Crumb Cake is a standout for the holidays. It doesn’t hurt that it’s easy to make, keeps well and best of all is great for drop in company or gift giving. Gingerbread Crumb Cake really doesn’t call for extra special ingredients, so you can whip one up when the notion strikes!

56C8BF38-4859-4FA7-B5AC-7E0C6D1E1873True Gingerbread has been around a long time… Crumb Cakes are more recent- I call them mid-century recipes, yet most likely Crumb Cakes were made long before the World Wars made it necessary to ration Butter, and Butter this Gingerbread Crumb Cake does require- no substitutes will do! For Breakfast or Brunch or even as a simple Dessert, it may look humble though the flavor and aroma distinctly says- Winter Holidays . The distinction of the Spice Mixture for Gingerbread Crumb Cake is the surprise pinch of Black Pepper along with traditional Gingerbread Spices. The method is also distinct- a Buttery Crumb Mixture is sprinkled on the Bottom of the baking dish, the batter is spread over it; then the remaining generous crumb topping covers the top of this small cake; making for an especially good Coffee Cake. It bakes in less than an hour, with very little clean up. 666185B5-3E08-4798-BF54-14193C8E84DB

You’ll want to pour a cup of coffee, cut a warm buttery square and enjoy while you’re making your list and checking it twice!

Camellia’s Gingerbread Crumb Cake 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter an 8×8 Baking Dish.
  • Measure spices into a small bowl-
  • 3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon Freshly grated Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger and 1/2 teaspoon finely ground Black Pepper
  • Set aside Spice Mixture.

  • Mix 2 1/2 cups AP Flour with  2 1/2 cups Sugar,
  • Cut into Flour/ Sugar- 1 cup (2 sticks) of  chilled Salted Butter until crumbly.  (Southern recipes tend to call for salted- if you use unsalted add a pinch of Salt.)
  • Reserve 1 full cup of this mixture for Crumb Topping (and bottom of the pan).
  • To the rest of the flour, sugar and butter mixture- add spices, blending very well.
  • Add 1 Beaten Egg- to the mixture. This will be a stiff dough, so…
  • In a liquid measure, add 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda and 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 cup of Whole Milk. Mix well.
  • Add milk mixture carefully to flour/ butter/spice mixture. *Use a light hand with this step. Combine- Do Not Beat.

  • Put 1/3 cup of Reserved Crumb Mixture on the bottom of a Buttered 8×8 Glass Baking Dish, reserving 2/3 cup for Topping.
  • Spread or spoon spiced cake batter evenly over crumb mixture.
  • Top with the remaining 2/3 cup of reserved crumb mixture.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting.
  • Wonderful served plain. *My notes also suggest Gingerbread Crumb Cake is good with a dollop of Lemon Curd. Yield 9 generous squares.

B310EA18-248B-4D16-8C1A-FB4C7270740DHoliday Tip: Food Gifts are always welcome, I think a Coffee Cake is a welcome addition! This Crumb Cake is easy to transport and would be a nice addition to any Coffee or Brunch. It’s nice to set up Coffee, Tea and Juices separately so that guests can serve the beverages themselves. The Hostess may want to cut the Gingerbread Crumb Cake and serve on individual Dessert Plates. 436EA54B-24BC-42EE-BF99-29E3C10992F2

Brunch is a wonderful casual way to Entertain, I’m thinking Gingerbread Crumb Cake may become a Winter Favorite here at the Cottage on into the New Year, warm satisfying and delicious!

Love y’all, Camellia

*photographs are obviously mine! *AP flour is all purpose flour * you may substitute buttermilk for the whole milk- however the apple cider vinegar does add a subtle flavor to whole milk/vinegar combination. If you use buttermilk- the baking soda is still required.

Storytellin’ …

3925AC4F-F5BD-44B5-AF85-0508EA46C4C7In the South, Storytellin’ is an acceptable art form…for some unknown reason Southern Folks who are Artists of any kind are reluctant to say-

  • ‘I’m a musician or
  • ‘I’m an artist’ and for sure-
  • They won’t own up to saying- ‘I’m a writer’

…Maybe it’s because Southern Folks have always been fiddlin’, piddlin’ or storytellin’ as a Pastime. To us, these art forms don’t sound like an Honest Day’s Work for an Honest Day’s Pay. No, it’s more like ways to earn a little extra money or have a little extra fun. Hard working folks didn’t idle away their time- piddlin’- for a Living. Their folks told them- ‘There ain’t no money in it.’  Of course, if you did make some money at it- that wouldn’t be something you’d want to brag about, unless you could connect it to something God-given- that’s different- it’s inspired. Still, you wouldn’t want to brag on yourself. Now, to be honest, there are some stunning examples of Southerners who’ve made it big in Artistic Pursuits, yet for some reason, even now, we tend to think- apart from the Lord, it’s a little Scandalous. For instance, Hank Williams was probably the most prolific songwriter of his time, maybe ever. It took Hank to an early grave since he needed to be a bit inebriated to get going good. We appreciate his music and sympathize with his brand of inspiration, but it’s sort of scandalous, if you get my drift.

There are so many blends of culture in the South- the Art and Music we’ve brought forth  is astounding and generally born of suffering and hardship.

  • Blues, Jazz,
  • Soul, Country,
  • Blue Grass and Gospel

Seem to rise up like mists from the soil, the sweat and the seawater… All of it intertwines with telling the Story of sin, heartache, love, loneliness and hard times- hopefully with some kind of happy ending. Still. I’ve come to believe Southern Storytellin’ is a way to expound, explain or exaggerate-  a Cry to be Heard or a Way to Entertain, I’m never sure which… so, as I often say- ‘Like All Southern Tales, it’s Part Truth, Part Myth and Part Outright Lies.’

The best Storytellin’ arises from Mildly Bizarre to Tenderhearted on over to Downright Insanity. Exaggerated or not. Storytellin’ has to include ways to get attention, play on the emotions. High minded folks have elevated our Arts to Folk Art. Our Music to the Universal. These are just other terms for the ways of life that we Southerners have lived and become, and we tell it by fiddlin’, piddlin’ or storytellin’.

Take these three Storytellers… they probably cringed a little when they first were called Writers. Now, please understand, these are by no means, ALL of my favorites Authors- there are so many Southern Authors- it’d be hard to choose just a few. Fanny Flagg, Mark Childress and Patti Callahan Henry happen to be from my home state and I’m reading them right now. In their own way these books are Southern Love Letters, Odes to a Way of Life and the Stark Contrasts only a true Southerner can understand.

D8CD34EB-91FC-4601-9F9C-D74E7AB1A4A6Patti Callahan Henry is the relative newcomer to the bunch, but she’s already something else, as we say. She’s a New York Times Bestselling Author who does speaking engagements on the Importance of Storytelling. This little book- is a Holiday Story, a tender love story, called The Perfect Love Song– It’s about thinking you’ve finally gotten everything only to find out,..well I’ll let you read it for yourself. She spins quite a tale- unexpected but really not, if you’ve had your dreams for the big time and you happen to be from the South. Patti Callahan Henry has lived in a part of Alabama I know quite well- yet her range of understanding Southern Folks from different backgrounds makes me believe she knows something about Storytellin’ and I like it.

Then there is the ever zany and brilliant Fannie Flagg– who I consider to be a modern day Folk Hero, because of her most famous work – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café– which earned her the praise of- none other than two very famous Southern Female Authors, Eudora Welty and Harper Lee and a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. The screen version- Fried Green Tomatoes- brought even more nominations for the Academy Award and Screenwriters Guild of America. Fried Green Tomatoes is based on a hugely popular down home restaurant- called The Irondale Café which still sits beside an active railroad close to Birmingham, Alabama  I must admit- I love this about Fannie Flagg too… she was a staff writer for the hysterical Television Show- Candid Camera. Flagg is a Southern Storyteller. This little Christmas book- A Redbird Christmas is just as sweet and funny as can be- light reading as we say, set in one of my favorite places on earth in South Alabama…

And, there’s the profoundly outrageous Mark Childress whose novel, Crazy in Alabama also became a movie and found worldwide fame and is totally crazy! Childress has been writing for years, this novel isn’t new- I’d seen the movie so I wanted to read the book too. I had enjoyed his articles in Southern Living and the Birmingham News before I realized he was becoming such an amazing Storyteller. Born in Monroeville, Alabama, the hometown of Harper Lee– famed author of To Kill a Mockingbird and the town where Truman Capote spent many of his boyhood summers- Childress is a distinct Author of quite a different sort than Capote and Harper Lee. He frames himself like most Southern writers- with an unmistakable Inferiority Complex born of being from the eccentric South- though he lived in several states- thankfully he still claims us as his own. Childress tells a story about his fellow Alabamian and acclaimed Author- Winston Groom. After toiling in the humid region of Mobile Bay, just about the time Childress and Fannie Flagg were writing down there too- one day, Winston Groom slapped a manuscript on Mark Childress’ kitchen table and said something like ‘This one’ll never be made into a movie!’ Well… it was made into a movie- that manuscript was none other than Forrest Gump. Sweet Crazy and Funny, still a hit with me- Winston Groom didn’t seem to think much of his storytellin’ at that moment- but look what happened! That’s an Alabama writer for you, a bit eccentric, a bit cynical and definitely not so sure of himself. When you read Mark Childress’ work, it sneaks up on you; you’re reeled in, rolling with laughter one minute- revolted the next…then before you know it- you’re left with profound truths. Sweet, Funny, Crazy- from just a few wonderful folks. A small sample of bonafide Writers- Authors you might call them; somehow I think they’d prefer to be called Storytellers who understand this beautiful place we call our Sweet Home in Alabama.

Love y’all, Camellia

*This is not a sponsored post, just my humble opinion…photographs are obviously mine.

Visit Patti Callahan Henry for a look at her life and wonderful novels at www.patticallahanhenry

Fannie Flagg can be found at  her official site to find out more about her books and movie.

CrazyinAlabama.com for a visit with Mark Childress and a look at his wonderful books!

Snow Day!

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If you live in the Lower South, an honest to goodness Snow Day is as scarce as hen’s teeth… especially in December, more especially this close to Christmas!  We’re more apt to have weather reports that hint at – A Light Frost, Possible Snow Flurries or A Light Dusting of Snow in low lying areas than the real thing. A Snow Day is rare and beautiful.

 

For one magical day- it snowed all day- silently steadily covering Boxwoods, which looked like big frosted cupcakes.

 

Garden chairs had icy white down cushions. Roses glittered, magnolia leaves bowed under the weight, holly berries peaked out and even decorated a cake!

 

Camellias seemed even more beautiful under frosted green leaves. A sassy Garden Statuary showed off her White Pill Box Hat! 85C923D5-BA84-4A02-A62D-1F1605DDF93F

Trees took on an haunting beauty…

 

Serene Garden scenes…

 

Cozy Snacks by Firelight appeared in beautiful array…

A8C15BFB-7BC5-45B8-A6DA-D34B15C19815A Snow Day.  Time to pause amid other ordinary days or like this Snow Day among extraordinarily busy holidays!

Only one Snow Day… yet enough to leave behind magical gleaming memories…7509D960-330C-443B-9B02-2FA5F6618E35

Love y’all, Camellia

*Photographs were shared by the Camellia’s Cottage Community- others are obviously mine. 6F441F2C-ABA3-48DA-B1FE-0E76B07D7BA2

Cheerful Cherries…

AC822F94-E8A2-45B5-AD73-0D3B8D1EC2A2                                                                    Cheerful Cherries

If there’s anything that defines a Southern Holiday Meal – it’s colorful flamboyance! We want color, we want drama, we want festivity. We love a sense of the dramatic in our recipes-

  • Hot Fruit Compotes or Flaming Cherries Jubilee.
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake may seem ordinary but think of the flourish of turning it out!
  • Dare I even mention Homemade Fruitcake glistening with candied cherries on top?
  • Adding Dried Cherries to Chocolate Desserts seems sophisticated, but the flavors are old and familiar.

In whatever form, cherries add a special touch to Holiday Dessert Tables.  Cherries, while not grown extensively in the South- are beloved; whether candied, brandied, bourboned or bottled, cherries seem to be downright cheerful. Then there are the Boxed Chocolate Covered Cherries- which always seem to appear close to the holidays in roadside stores and fine shops. I like them- in moderation, of course. Okay, I admit it- I also love bright red Maraschino Cherries! Plopped in a tall glass of icy Limeade, topping off an Ice Cream Sundae- Maraschino Cherries are festive and make even the simplest dessert cheerful. Where would Pink Lemonade be without a dose of Maraschino Cherry Syrup? One thing the South can lay claim to is- Cherry Co-Cola.. made famous at drugstore soda fountains, I admit to loving these- why? the clerk always topped it off with a bright red Maraschino Cherry!

The truth is, I’ve never tasted a genuine Maraschino Cherry and chances are neither have you. Genuine Maraschino Cherries are rare and costly- starting at twenty dollars per jar and they aren’t bright red, they’re almost black. The real ones are made from Marasa Cherry Liqueur with Marasa Cherries which have been grown in Luxardo, Italy for decades. What we know as the Iconic Ice Cream topper, Marschino Cherries must be labelled ‘imitation’ because it is a sour cherry soaked in red dye and flavorings to mimic the real deal which no longer contains alcohol, but rather relies on Almond Extract and other Flavorings.

With the Farm to Table movement in full swing,  combined with the short growing season for Cherries- methods to preserve and serve has grown. Fine chefs and bartenders began making their own versions of soaked cherries with no red dye or artificial flavorings! The result is amazing.  Southerners have been serving Brandied Fruit during the holidays since the 1700’s, using starters, made with fresh fruit, sugar and likker! Bourbon soaked Cherries have become fashionable and are now a specialty food item. I noticed a trend toward handcrafted Maraschino Cherries as a Specialty Food  and became intrigued several years ago. Experimenting…to my surprise- a version I call Cheerful Cherries was really good!C9B1A0F7-ACB7-4251-81EA-DAD640C009BB

To be honest, this was going to be one of those family secret recipes. I topped off my jar recently, honestly it’s too good not to share! Here’s how you make-   Camellia’s Cheerful Cherries

  • You will need:
  • Two 14.5 oz. Cans of Red Tart Cherries- whole pitted packed in water (not syrup)
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • The juice of 1 large Lemon which has been stripped of zest- * I use the tool which creates long narrow strips.
  • 1-2 whole Star Anise
  • 1 whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract
  • 2 Teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup of Brandy
  • Method:
  • Drain Cherries, reserving one cup of Liquid.
  •  Put cherries in a heat proof glass jar, with a cinnamon stick, whole star anise and the strips of lemon zest.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of sugar,  reserved 1 cup of liquid from cherries, and lemon juice.
  • On medium low heat- Cook until all sugar is dissolved, then simmer 3-4 minutes. This is a flavored sugar syrup.
  •  Cool slightly, then add 2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract, 2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract and 1/2 cup of Brandy.
  • Pour flavored sugar syrup into a glass 2 cup measure- *for ease of pouring over the jarred cherries and spices.
  • Cover, Let sit for 2-3 days at room temperature. For stronger flavor- refrigerate a week or two before serving. Improves with Age. The cherries will be dark in color- not bright red! Keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator.
  • Yield 2 cups.

First of all, anything that improves with age rates high on my list- that’s my personal motto these days! Also, I have used Cherry Brandy which is a good substitute. Amaretto is a liqueur I plan to try, which will eliminate the need for Almond Extract. . These Cheerful Cherries make an excellent Holiday Gift, Tied with a Green Satin Ribbon- beautiful! Also, I’ve  had good success draining the cherries very well, covering with Fondant and Dipping in Chocolate- for our version of Chocolate Covered Cheerful Cherries.

*Fresh Cherries may be substituted for canned when in season- Use water instead of liquid to make the sugar syrup, then pour the hot sugar syrup over fresh cherries- which need to ripen longer to soften and absorb the flavors. I top off my jar occasionally with drained canned tart red cherries for a fresh batch. The liquid is wonderful when used as a flavorful Baste for a Holiday Baked Ham. Added to your favorite Barbeque Sauce there is an indefinable flavor!  Cheerful Cherries are not bright red, in fact the darker color indicates a thorough soaking – which is desirable. Making a batch of Hand Crafted Brandied Cherries or Mixed Fruit is easy and I guarantee a big dose of cheer goes a long way!

Love y’all, Camellia

*photographs are obviously mine. And the cherries which are dark have been soaked a while- the lighter color are freshly drained- I stir them to combine and refrigerate.

Maple Stars…


 

B9B787AF-EE4D-4266-A8C1-42B991B53C35For God so loved the heavenly Stars- He gave them to the Maple Tree.

Her leaves are Grace Notes in the Spring and Starry shade in Summer.

Then on a crisp and chilly morn against an Autumn sky-

The Maple tree transforms – a flaming Scarlet Sight.

Soon crowned with Crimson Stars she’ll breathe…

 A grateful sigh for Celestial Beams,

A Shepherds Field. One Starry Night-

 When Angels sing- A Herald’s song-

Of Winter’s Babe- The Newborn King!


Love y’all, Camellia

*This beautiful and inspiring Maple Tree was photographed  by my dear friend, Sandra. Used with permission.

Tartans ‘n Plaids…

2EF6971A-8C6A-40C0-B461-3C7B59C09219Tartans ‘n Plaids are beloved patterns in the South. The plaids of my youth were- constrained by rules, like all fashion  and design statements. Tartans ‘n Plaids have rules:

  • Wear Tartans and Plaids in Fall and Winter. with rare exceptions
  • The weight, size and color of Tartans or Plaids ( you must think scale here)
  • There is an appropriate Time, Occasion and Location to use Plaids (with an emphasis on appropriate)

Some Southerners identified the Tartan Plaids of their Scottish forbears as far back as the mid 19th century. Therefore, some of us do tend to get historical about these things, mainly because we’re clannish ourselves.  Sir Walter Scott declared every Clan should wear their Tartans for a royal visit by George IV- give a Southerner about a fourth generation of anything and we’ll do as we’re told! I’m not well versed in the many official Tartan Plaids. As a young person, I attended an International Fair held in Birmingham during the 60’s and 70’s- Scotland was the highlighted country… I have to admit I looked up our Plaids!  The descriptions were wonderful-

  • Red and Black Plaid shot through with Gold,
  • Royal Blue and Medium Green shot through with White (Canadian version),
  • Classic Green and Navy Blue shot with Gold on an uneven line.54501844-254A-4428-BAFB-BA17832AC612

Tartans aren’t ordinary plaids- Oh no, Tartan is of Scottish origin. Therein lies the difference- a Tartan is a Plaid but a Plaid is not always a Tartan! Oh my, ordinary Plaid has appeared in some awful interior designs and fabrics!

Even now, I’m certain that you will find, in some terribly rustic hunting camps –  plaid cast off furniture in particular, large and awful color combos– with a ‘Herculean’ claim to be indestructible. Let’s just say- you can’t put a bullet through any of this Plaid! Whole Living Room Suites (we pronounce that suits) were made up in brown, black, harvest gold or avocado green shot through with cream in patterns the size of Hercules himself! This is definitely NOT Tartan… that Herculean Plaid made it’s way into homes as Christmas gifts for dear old Dads- a Recliner sitting alongside Momma’s floral cut velvet- a big ol’ ugly Plaid– situated center stage in front of the TV- wide arms, maybe a built in beverage cup holder. The Recliner had to be given a wide berth in case Dad decided to Recline, flopping it backward with a lever on the side, he loved it!

I’ve seen whole horrid plaid suites tossed out on the side of a rural road– living proof that the rough plaid fabric will never die. The foam cushions might crumble, the springs might rust- the wood might rot… but that heavy plaid fabric will be there for you as a rural effort at starting a Roadside Rest Stop.  Tacky is too mild a word! And, then there were… awful Leisure Suits made of Plaid Polyester – enormous plaids- always large and loud…for some reason never discreet or to scale! Both the plaid furniture and outrageous attire might have been touted as indestructible- but let me ask you-who wanted it to last? Neither offered Comfort and Joy.E285E163-93AF-4859-8035-BE7B28745366

Tartan Plaids- aren’t tacky. They are made in comfortable cotton, soft wool or taffeta. Not tacky or loud but we did have our rules on wearing them. With the exception of the Cradle and the Grave, most Tartan Plaids can be worn by all ages. Infants did not wear large plaids. Tiny muted plaids might be acceptable in a baby boy’s room- though never nurseries blanketed or wallpapered in loud plaids- who knew what  could happen?

  • Colic, Rash,
  • Thrush or Cradle Cap?
  • Loud plaids can be unsettling!
  • Think soft and to scale for children.

Tiny Toddlers could sport Tiny Tartans- smocked with Christmas Tree inserts or monogrammed on white pique, even garments topped with lace insertion collars. Little boys wore Plaid Shorts buttoned onto White Collared or Smocked tops. No trip to see Santa would be quite as adorable as little ones dressed in Tartan! 86AAE34A-A279-4413-96AA-E5B4CF3F2C0E

Older children might wear a Tartan Plaid Jumper, a Pleated Skirt, Pants or Shorts but rarely put plaid close to cherubic faces. Think Tiny- to scale.

For ladies, we love our plaid blouses and Tartan Kilts. For men, classic Tartan Plaid shirts often pair nicely with a V Neck Sweater and Khakis. For Holiday Fashion, there’s no fabric as festive as Tartan plaids-

  • Ribbons Sashes, Hair Bows and Scarves.
  • Tartan Christmas Stockings, Tree Skirts, Table Linens,
  • Dishes, Invitations, Tartan Throws and Blankets- all bring holiday warmth and cheer to the Home.
  • Formal Taffeta Hostess Skirts and Dresses, Cumberbunds, Bow Ties, even Vests, if not overdone;
  • The discreet lining of a Jacket or Wrap also lends a festive flair to Holiday Parties.
  • For School Girls- Tartans are always in Fashion. Festive and classic are the operative words.Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

Wearing a loud plaid to a Funeral is highly discouraged, though certain dark discreet and solemn tartans are acceptable. Nothing bright and loud.  We Southerners completely love Funerals accompanied by Scottish Bagpipers- Men in Tartan Plaid Kilts (Black Watch Pattern) with highly polished Black Shoes and Knee-high Dark Socks are considered solemn and appropriate. The Bagpipers should stand on a slight slope if possible, but stand a decent, discreet distance away from an Open Grave. The sound of Bagpipes always makes me cry.4EC80046-0629-444D-BF26-C1DF21AAA024

These were the Old Rules- nowadays anything goes and I have to admit I like some of it- but I do miss Dress up Parties where ladies actually wore Hostess Dresses and Skirts with smart black velvet shoes. Tartans ‘n Plaids rank among my favorite Holiday Patterns. Nothing can dress up a Wreath or a Package quite like a Red Plaid shot through with metallic gold thread!

642CBD27-56EB-4F91-A252-61EB90B7D8A9You may be asking- why all of this talk of Tartans ‘n Plaids? Well… Saint Andrew, the Patron Saint of Scotland, is celebrated at the end of November.  Andrew happens to be one of my favorite Apostles, a rank and file man, apparently uninterested in personal fame, keenly interested in the Cause of Christ. Every time we see Andrew in Scripture- he  is bringing someone to Jesus. Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Jesus and brought a little lad with an even smaller lunch of loaves and fishes to Jesus when thousands were hungry! And really? Isn’t that the best reason to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas Season and Scotland’s Saint Andrew with classic Tartans ‘n Plaids? I think so…let the Holidays begin!

Love y’all, Camellia

*Photograph of our lovely young model at her first professional photo shoot is used with permission! Photographs of the adorable and festive little girls are also used with permission. Please respect their ages and please don’t use without permission! * The Herculean fabric had a name- Herculon® it was indestructible and I never saw a plaid pattern of it that I liked! It must have been enormously successful though!In a region once filled with textile mills, if it was made in the South, we’re all grateful! *All other photographs are mine!